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Report finds Tassie should have an AFL team but no one knows how it will work

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13th August, 2021
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Tasmania could have its own team in the AFL and AFLW competitions after the Carter review found there is a strong case for a team to be included in the state.

There was huge speculation around the report with media outlets last night suggesting it was going to recommend a joint venture between an existing AFL club.

A relocated team from Victoria is what the report recommends with a standalone team less likely.

“The review found that the case for Tasmania is strong. There should be a team representing Tasmania in the AFL and AFLW competitions. However, the best form of that team is less clear cut,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.

There’s still a long process to get a Tasmanian team – even if it is a joint venture rather than a 19th club.

Tasmania will need three-quarters of the 18 current clubs to agree to the move.

Another report last year said a standalone team would cost $45 million and a 19th club would take until at least 2025 to get off the ground.

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A joint venture is, therefore, an easier financial move but finding a Victorian club that’s willing to merge will be a battle.

McLachlan still has hope of a standalone team.

“A 19th Licence is achievable. The review says Tasmania needs to be represented in the AFL and AFLW and it is plausible,” he said.

North Melbourne has already said it’s not willing to be relocated.

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KEY REPORT FINDINGS

– The case for Tasmania is strong, particularly with the deep historical links to our game and there should be a team representing Tasmania in the AFL/AFLW national competitions – however the best form of that team is less clear-cut.

– The case can be made for a 19th Licence but re-location of an existing team if a club is prepared to take that path, or a joint venture between Tasmanian stakeholders and a Victorian team that secures strong support in two markets from the outset, would arguably produce a more sustainable outcome and therefore should be considered before a 19th licence.

– Reaching a decision on a team to represent Tasmania should not be impacted by Covid but the decision around timing should. The AFL and the clubs will reasonably minimise new financial risks and the clubs should not be expected to make a final decision at a time when AFL industry finances are under stress.

– Any outcome is dependent on locking in State Government funding guarantees and provision of appropriate stadia and related facilities in Tasmania and these should be finalised ahead of any decision.
Tasmania is deserving of a team to represent the state on historic and fairness grounds and most economic arguments can be overcome as long as Government funding is secured.

– A 19th team would be positioned in the middle of the bottom third of the wealth ladder of our industry, but a combined Tasmanian and Victorian support base would position the new club in the middle wealth ranks of AFL clubs, a formidable competitor on and off the field.

– The Taskforce submitted that a 19th team would be net accretive because of incremental media rights but this review notes that AFL and industry advice is that broadcast rights are unlikely to reach the levels forecast by the Taskforce

– Many of the risks of starting a new team in Tasmania can be managed regardless of which pathway is chosen and key concerns raised in opposition to a team such as the size of the Tasmanian population, the north-south rivalry, player retention, dilution of talent, fixture complications and the state of the Tasmanian economy are all issues that can be managed and should not influence the decision on a team, whatever the eventual model.

– Tasmania is a football state and the cost of securing a football state are reasonable, fulfils the purpose of the AFL and is the right thing to do.

AFL STATEMENT – NEXT STEPS

The AFL Commission welcomes the Carter Review and supports Colin’s findings that Tasmania has a strong football history and a clear passion for our game.

Given the current “financial situation” the Commission acknowledges the Carter Review finding that the AFL Clubs should not be asked for a final decision at a time when AFL industry finances remain under serious stress from the Covid pandemic

The recommendation that all models should be investigated before clubs are asked to decide on a team for Tasmania and that a relocation or joint venture capturing the Melbourne and Tasmanian supporters would provide a more successful and sustainable model should also be considered. This review makes clear that the best chance of success is a team that captures both the Tasmanian and Melbourne markets.

While the AFL Commission acknowledges that any decision to relocate or joint venture rests with the directors and members of individual clubs it accepts the Review’s finding that “a combined Tasmanian and Victorian support base would position the new club in the middle wealth ranks of AFL clubs, a formidable competitor on and off the field.”

We are thankful to the Tasmanian Government’s support for its proposed investment for a team to represent Tasmania and investment in stadia to ensure the team was successful and sustainable and agrees with the Review that these issues should be pursued ahead of any decision by clubs.

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We will work with the Tasmanian Government to see what a potential model might look like.

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